A couple of weeks ago I received an email from David Medina, a good friend and church-planter in California. In his email he shared the following:
I can genuinely say for the first time since we started, that numbers in that regard do not matter to our heart. It’s hard to explain, but I am so grateful to Jesus for being patient with us, and leading us to a place where we can be full of integrity in announcing to the world, and to our surrounding church co-laborers, that it is ALL about Jesus. We are whole-heartedly focused on our (as Piper says) our vertical relationship first, and then learning how to “bend” that vertical fruit of love out to all of our horizontal relationships.
For the past week and a half, these statements have been haunting me. I cannot get them off of my mind. Although as a Jesus-follower and pastor I wear the Jesus label, I have been forced to ask is it ALL really about Jesus?
What would my life and ministry look like if I focused on my vertical relationship first and then learned to bend that vertical fruit of love to all of my horizontal relationships?
Is the life I’m living, the family we’re growing, the relationships I’m building, and the ministry I’m starting all really about Jesus?
Am I trying to pray God into my agenda and my plans or am I faithfully responding to who He is and what He’s doing?
What if following God’s path leads to greater suffering and sacrifice than I anticipated- is Jesus worth that much to me?
Is everything in my horizontal life the overflow of a vibrant vertical love relationship with Jesus?
I desperately want the answer to be yes. I want to be a the point where I can fully agree with what the Apostle Paul writes to the Philippians:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith– that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
I appreciate your prayers in this matter.
Please pray that I would consider everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus.
Please pray that my marriage to Christin, my relationships with Jude and Wren (our soon to be born daughter), my friendships, and my ministry would all be the byproduct of bending this vertical relationship with Jesus.
Please pray that I would never use Jesus as means to an end in doing ministry or serving others-I want it to be ALL about Jesus.
Please pray that others would see the life of Jesus in me, on the good days and especially during the difficult times.